Mechanisms of Organic Reactions
Learning Outcomes
On completing these problems you should be able to:
 • Demonstrate an understanding of the bond forming and breaking processes in fundamental types of reaction in Organic Chemistry.
 • Draw the "curly" (or "curved") arrows that organic chemists use to depict bond forming and breaking processes.

The mechanism of an organic reaction is the sequence of steps in the reaction, including details of what bonds are formed and/or broken in each step.   Understanding the mechanisms of organic reactions is key to understanding Organic Chemistry, and is also essential to being able to use the reactions to make useful compounds.


How To Use This Page:  You will be presented with reactions in the structure drawing window below, and asked to draw the curly arrow mechanisms.   Start by selecting the type of reaction you would like to work on, by clicking on one of the buttons below. Then select the level of difficulty appropriate to your prior learning and your own learning goals.   Then click on the "Get Problem" button and follow the instructions that will appear in the blue rectangle underneath.   Click here for help on how to draw curly arrows in the editor window.   The score shown below right will give an indication of your progress.   Select a different reaction type or level of difficulty when you wish to move on.

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The page can be used to get a flavour of what it will offer, but it will be replaced by a greatly improved version in early 2017.

Choose a type of mechanism   Click on a name to get help on that type of mechanism.
Resonance Substitution and elimination Electrophilic addition to alkenes
Acyl substitution Nucleophilic addition to C=O Electrophilic aromatic substitution
All mechanisms
Choose the level of difficulty
More difficult                        

Problem instructions

ChemDoodle Editor

Feedback and Score

Draw curly (curved) arrows on the structure(s) on the left to show how the structure(s) on the right is(are) formed.

When you are finished click the "Check Mechanism" button.